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the supreme court of the united states ruled that states could restrict abortions beyond the limits set in 1973 by the "roe versus wade" decision. you have that supreme court decision in the summer, which gave wilder a great issue. announcer: on the issue of abortion... the coleman campaign tried for a while to ignore it, and it became very clear over a period of just a few weeks that the wilder message on abortion was resonating with what was in the news media and what was current because of the supreme court decision. and only four short days remain in this campaign for the future of this great state. and so talk to your family, your friends.
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take them to the polls with you. make these last days count for marshall coleman, for virginia, and for the united states of america. thank you... reporter: it was an angry marshall coleman who turned up for a late afternoon news conference at the state capitol. trailing in pre-election public opinion polls with time running out, coleman charged that virginia news organizations have glossed over what he termed douglas wilder's dishonesty and corruption. i don't think it matters how much history doug wilder's election on tuesday would make. he has to meet the same high standards that virginians have always demanded of their governors. and i for one am not going to stand by and watch a person who is unfit to preserve that tradition glide into office with a feel-good, make-history message, and a cry of negative every time someone dares to tell the truth about him. no more lies! no more lies! no more lies! reporter: college republicans don't buy wilder's denials. they turned up at a wilder rally
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at the college of william and mary, but they were shouted down by wilder supporters. (chants) take my word for it. i will be the next governor of virginia. (cheers) the day of the election, the exit polls showed him winning by ten percent, which was a landslide. and i remember very well the night of the election, going over to the marriott hotel and arriving, and it was really a huge celebration. it was... people just couldn't believe he was going to win by a landslide. you know, they were really just joyous and it was like history was really being rewritten in virginia. (cheers and applause) narrator: at 8:39 p.m., the wire services showed wilder had taken a slight lead in the vote total for the first time. by 9:00 p.m., the gap had jumped to almost 20,000 votes. the rout was on.
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for 45 minutes, wilder maintained a lead of at least 20,000 votes. then the stream of numbers abruptly stopped. and the reporters went down to the floor under where the main ballroom was, and they were sort of... being able to watch televisions and seeing these results came in. and when a.p. started reporting the results again, they were very, very close. it wasn't any landslide election. it was very tight. and so there was sort of this disconnect, with people upstairs celebrating and people downstairs realizing this was not what the people upstairs thought. narrator: at 10:37, word came that several precincts had been counted twice. the corrected total had cut wilder's lead to just less than 6,500 votes-- under one percent of the total. and so, we kept waiting for the expected to happen-- for wilder to win easily-- and it wasn't happening. and we kept thinking, "well, maybe with another
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ten percent of the vote. maybe with another ten percent of the vote." i'll tell you one person, maybe the only person who wasn't all that surprised, i'm convinced, was doug wilder. all along he knew it was going to be close. he just knew. he knew. he knew because he'd lived his life in virginia. while he trusted virginia to elect him, he knew it wasn't gonna be a landslide. (cheers and applause) narrator: shortly after 11:00 p.m., wilder made his way to the ballroom. there was no word of concession from coleman, but wilder had maintained his lead of several thousand votes. male speaker: he came up to me, and asked, "this lead will hold?"e?dok because it was infinitesimal at the time. and i just looked at all the precincts, and i said, "governor, 'cause you are governor, i believe it will hold. five thousand votes isn't much but it's a lot of votes when you go to look for them."
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i am here to claim to be the next governor of virginia. (cheers) female reporter: but that claim may not hold up. we don't yet know what the outcome is. (cheers) reporter: wilder has only a whisper of a lead, and a recount appears inevitable. something went terribly wrong tonight, and i'm afraid that old issue of race prevented doug wilder from getting the number of votes that he did get tonight. reporter: wilder refused to make race an issue during the campaign, and he refused to make it one last night, as well. whatever role it may have played, it wasn't enough to deny me the election. (cheers and applause) this is something that political scientists have debated a lot, especially when it comes to races where whites are asked whether or not they're going to vote for blacks. we saw the same thing in david dinkins' race
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as mayor of the city of new york, that the day he went in, the polls were pretty good, very comfortable in terms of his lead. and yet, as the day worn on, it narrowed and narrowed and narrowed. so i think a lot of people get in, they say they're going to vote for a black candidate but then when it comes to the moment of actually deciding, some of them decide not to do it. reporter: the two stars of today's gathering had made history-- doug wilder, the first elected black governor, and david dinkins, the first black mayor of new york. senate majority leader george mitchell called it a victory for the country. americans are prepared to accept candidates on the basis of their individual talent, dedication, and willingness to work hard. when it became official that doug wilder had won, i thought that it was historic
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because it meant for me, since i had been writing about the history of politics and what the vote meant to african-americans and holding office, that we finally would get a chance to see what happened when a black person held a statewide office like that, and we'd get to see how much difference it made, if any. and if it didn't make any, we'd get to figure out why, and what else we needed to do. but we needed to have him win in order for us to get to that point. so it really was crucial for the african-american community. i remember clearly tim stating in a conversation to governor wilder, and says, "yeah, yeah, yeah. you know, if this state is smart enough to elect you as governor, i'm moving back to virginia, my home." and once he got elected, i looked for a house. i don't think of it in terms of proud.
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we still... the united states of america still has too many warts. you just feel good, and then you wake up in the morning and you feel good about this man. and then you're thankful to the state of virginia, warts and all. it's an historic moment, so full of hope because the prayers of the righteous and their lofty dreams have been fulfilled. as i watched the people in berlin as walls came down with a great sense of ecstasy, i have the sense of how that feels, because this is a state where the slave ships landed. and to go from the hull of a slave ship
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to governor of this state, is a great american story. it's a great world story, and the cast of light and not shadows, ensuring people that work hard and diligently and bolt their hopes and not their fears, will keep on breaking down barriers and making america better, and keeping america strong. ♪ male speaker: i remember looking out at the capitol, and there was a sea of people, i mean, just everywhere. it extended beyond the capitol grounds out into the streets in downtown richmond, just people everywhere. female speaker: there were children sort of hanging out of trees almost, climbing and playing around. and there were older people with canes and walkers. it really was a great american moment. we mark today not a victory of party or the accomplishments of an individual,
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but the triumph of an idea... male speaker: you could just sense that all eyes were on virginia. some days just feel like history. they smell like it. they look like it. they taste like it. and this was one of those. ...the idea that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights-- the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness... male speaker: it was a tremendous big deal for virginia, for america. it showed what we mouth as our beliefs and principles were not empty promises. ...that pride does burst forth and lifts my voice and my spirit to acclaim so that i can say to you today that i am a son of virginia. thank you, and god bless all of you. (cheers and applause)
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(cheers and applause) ♪ ♪ he's very inspirational, not only to the african-american community but i think to people in general. once again, it shows that if you're committed to something and you're willing to fight for it and not be turned off by the obstacles that people throw in front of you, that is a marvelous story,
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and it's a marvelous example for everybody. i think from the standpoint of african-americans, he brought the largest number of african-americans into government in the history of the state of virginia. that's worth something. but the question then is, "what were they able to achieve?" and i think quite rightly, when you look at the economic circumstances of the state at the time, it was very difficult to achieve anything. you know, i mean, there were some of us who knew that doug wilder would not be able to work miracles and that doug wilder being elected governor would possibly not have a tangible, appreciable impact... positive impact on our lives, but that this was larger than us. you know, he was going about the task of making history. ♪
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♪ narrator: as one of the highest elected black officials in the world, doug wilder became an international icon. he was treated as royalty on his travels, and drew enormous crowds on the african continent. wilder: the most impressive sight that we had was in the northern nigeria, where we went up there to kano state... and we were told by the u.s. ambassador to nigeria not to go there because, one, it was a muslim holiday, that no one would be there to visit him, and it really wasn't worth his time. and that just made me want to go more. and we showed up, and there was a parade of 30,000 people on the sidelines just waiting for us to drive by. ♪ i know when the african heads of state came here,
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that was another moment. all that pageantry and grandeur and just the largest delegation of african heads of state ever on u.s. soil. you know, you felt like virginia was like happenin' in a way that it hasn't since, you know? i mean, all eyes were on us. you just got the sense that this was the place to be. (applause) as someone who has fought for positive change and the american dream for all these years, i have decided to run for the presidency of the united states in 1992. (applause) and i have to admit that i was one of the few people that really did want him to run for president because i thought that he automatically had a national platform by virtue of the historic win for governor, and the fact that his campaign had really touched so many people.
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i wouldn't have never dreamed that i was riding on the back of the bus and going to an all-black school and living... and couldn't have a drink of water in the fountains at restaurants or stores downtown. i would not have even imagined it. that's why it's such a fantastic thrill for me as a native of this community to see what has happened not only with the aspirations of an african-american for president but that the community has advanced so much in such a short time. female reporter: one day into his run for the presidency, governor doug wilder isn't wasting any time contacting some longtime friends. i just wanna say congratulations to governor wilder, and i wish him much success as he declares for the presidency of the united states. thank you so much. race relations are not where they were just a couple of years ago in this nation. and we need healing. affirmative action isn't pulling our economy down. affirmative action isn't keeping people out of work.
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and affirmative action isn't running up our deficit. let's get to the real issues that are tearing this country apart. he's the type of man that say that your color can't keep you down. you can be exactly what you want to be, if you want it to be bad enough. and with his fine qualities, i know that he is going to be really an outstanding person in whatever pursuit he undertakes. does he have your vote as president? he does that. i think he hasn't been governor. he's been running for president for 20 months. i don't think anything's going to change. i don't think it's been very good for the state--no. it would be, i think, in the best interest of the commonwealth if he would quit the office and let somebody in the office that's willing to devote some time to being the governor of virginia. female reporter: wilder's decision to run for the presidency and remain virginia's governor continues to draw criticism, but today the governor said all that criticism is downright unfair. no one is asking tom harkins to step down as senator. no one's asking bill clinton to step down as governor.
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no one has ever asked anyone to step down and to resign before. and someone said, "well, why are they asking you now?" i said, "you'll have to ask those people, and why it's in their minds that a double standard should be applied in my case." as extraordinary as his timing was in his ascension and knowing when to strike and when to make the move to become both lieutenant governor and governor, i think his timing was off from that point on, from a political standpoint. he was so widely unpopular in virginia by december of that year, wilder's approval rating had dropped to about 18 percent. he then withdrew from the presidency, and went about the business of amending the budget as best he could. narrator: adding to his falling approval rating, the conflicts between wilder and robb erupted yet again.
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an illegally-taped conversation including wilder was released by chuck robb's staff, ending with a grand jury investigation. this controversy combined with virginia's record deficit and a national recession would make it difficult for wilder to regain his popularity. wilder was tough, always tough. that will always be the adjective that i will most associate with him. and his assignment was to balance the budget and by god, he was going to balance the budget, and if people didn't like it, too bad. i was really concerned with trying to preserve as many jobs as i could rather than trying to say to people we're going to give raises to state employees. this is a reality. i think people are recognizing the fact that he did one heck of a job of managing the state in a very fiscally responsible way. for two consecutive years, virginia was voted the best fiscally-managed state in the nation. that meant so much to me
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because it in essence belied what others were saying about a democrat, about an african-american... they said, "well, you wouldn't have the administrative skills to bring that about. secondly, you'd be spending and wasting all the money as well as raising taxes." and we did not increase taxes. male speaker: so, in his sense, he might have rebounded a little bit late in his governorship. do you think you had something special to prove as the first elected african-american governor? yes, i do for people who... particularly african-americans or minorities. it says don't ever say they can't do it because of that. they can do it. they can do just as good a job as anyone else if they are given the chance.
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♪ ♪ when wilder had served his four years, it was sort of like you marked this down as something important that has happened and it sets a standard for where we can go. but if you can win in virginia with the right candidate who was african-american, then you can win anywhere. and it also means something not just for african-americans. it means for other people of color, whether you're latino or asian-american or indian or whatever-- that you can argue, and people will accept that you can win, too. so, in a way, it opened up vast areas of opportunity that were closed before. ...relative to standing up, not to say... narrator: since a virginia governor cannot serve consecutive terms,
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many expected doug wilder to stay politically active by seeking a higher office. he ran as an independent for the u.s. senate in 1994, but dropped out and supported the incumbent, chuck robb-- a critical political alliance that would help robb defeat marshall coleman and ollie north in a contentious election. all right, i'm gonna throw it to you. narrator: even out of office, wilder remained an unconventional and unpredictable voice in virginia politics. well, i hope i'll be around for a little while longer. narrator: he surprised many when he returned to his hometown in the fall of 2004, and became the first popularly-elected mayor of richmond in over 50 years. i think governor wilder...
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in 1992, he was still governor. he traveled to the goree islands in africa-- west africa. and that's when he decided that he wanted to build a national slavery museum. doug wilder talked about this even when he was busy with other things, years, decades ago. this has always been a dream of his. i'm sure he sees this as much as his legacy as that of being the first african-american governor. ♪
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first male speaker: i think doug wilder will always remembered as an historic figure, as somebody who rose against the odds and did what they said couldn't be done, somebody who showed a framework for how to get elected-- a minority to get elected-- and that that framework was that you have to be a candidate for all people. second male speaker: he is one of those who took the legacy of the civil rights movement into the places where the dreamers in the civil rights movement wanted it to go. they wanted it to go into the assembly. they wanted it to go into the statehouses. they wanted it to go in the people running for president, as though he was a legatee of that movement. third male speaker: nothing could ever change what he's accomplished. nothing could ever change both what it took for him to mount that summit.
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and nothing can ever change the way he proved that the color of a person's skin has nothing to do with one's ability to govern. and it's something to be proud of. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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female announcer: major funding for "wilder, an american first," was provided by suntrust. where you bank on opportunities, we bank on diversity. at suntrust we know it takes a special combination of people to foster creativity and a more competitive company. production funding was also provided by dominion, and by virginia commonwealth university, and by state farm insurance, with local agents who can help you with your insurance, banking, and financial service needs. state farm insurance-- we live where you live. "wilder, an american first," was produced in collaboration with the university of virginia center for politics.
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venice seems to be everyith more italy connoisseur's...of europe.
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prague has always been beautiful... germany... the irish civilization... the eiffel tower was built... hope you've enjoyed the magic of... stonehenge is roped off and viewable only from a distance, but england is dotted with less famous but more accessible stone circles. my favorite... avebury. the avebury stone circle, just 40 miles away, is as old as stonehenge and 16 times as big. and best of all, this megalithic playground welcomes kids, sheep, and anyone interested in a more hands-on experience.
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Sino News Magazine
PBS January 16, 2011 8:30pm-9:00pm PST


TOPIC FREQUENCY Virginia 24, Doug Wilder 10, Us 5, America 4, United States 3, U.s. 3, Marshall Coleman 3, David Dinkins 2, Chuck Robb 2, Coleman 2, Suntrust 2, Stonehenge 2, New York 2, United States Of America 1, Latino 1, Kano 1, George Mitchell 1, Tom Harkins 1, Bill Clinton 1, Douglas Wilder 1
Network PBS
Duration 00:30:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 107 (693 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 528
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

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on 1/17/2011